Absence of the Loved
9781609642747, $16.00, www.blazevox.org
Many poems and poetry collections focus on the presence of love, but Absence of the Loved is about that aftermath where love is gone, poetically describing the void left behind, the process of passing into something else, and what happens when transformation and change confront a relationship: "This morning we were born for something else".
Winter mornings, maddened minds, the compulsive drives of love and passion, and possession all coalesce in passionate, emotional pieces that grasp the essence of not a light romantic dream, but the agony and ecstasy of bonding with another both physically and emotionally.
From the throes of breakup and pain ("When I'm not grieving I trumpet destruction") to the inevitable progress towards a turning point where grief turns to renewal, Absence of the Loved is a poetic breakup diary like no other, chronicling the intimate passage of days and pain with the deft precision of a romantic martyr as the writer considers the absence of one with a 'penchant for parting'.
Again and again the times before departure are analyzed and probed, the impetus for change considered, and the faded spark of love from which the inevitability of leaving reviewed: "One day I will go so you will at last understand/This simplest of lessons: everything flows."
How long will loss last when "what we are is made of half of each other's wholeness"? It may not be a lifetime, but these moments are perfectly captured in a poetic gathering of experiences that intricately chronicles just what the process of and pain of letting go involves.
However, "The Absence of The Loved" is not just about loss. Although it starts that way, there is a progression, and fans of poetry will appreciate the various depths and nuances of feeling. In the end the poet transfigures his loss into a vibrant, radiant presence. The young woman that he loved becomes a symbol for "the loved". In the moving final poem "You and You Again", the circle is closed, there is no more absence --- what remains is Amor.
Diane C. Donovan, Senior Reviewer
Donovan's Literary Services
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Wade Stevenson was born in New York City in 1945 and his first book Beds (McCall Publishing Co., 1970) was a poetry best seller. Other books followed, including The Little Book of He and She, Read more »
If ever there were a modern poet reminiscent of the troubadour of yore, Wade Stevenson would be this poet. Suffused with the themes of the troubadour canso—unrequited love, sexual desire, despair—The Absence Of The Loved, Stevenson’s most recent book, pulls the reader in a centripetal spin toward the heart, wherein lies the absence of the poet’s beloved. Like many suffering lovers, the poet does not often seize glimmers of lunatic love, but he does know “it will take time to cool,/To bring this heart back from the land of the dead.” For him, this love promises “a last chance,” for her it’s simply fate. Read more »